O.E. brysan "to crush, bruise, pound," from P.Gmc. *brusjanan, from PIE base *bhreus- "to smash, crush" (cf. O.Ir. bronnaim "I wrong, I hurt;" Bret. brezel "war," V.L. brisare "to break"). Merged by 17c. with Anglo-Fr. bruiser "to break, smash," from O.Fr. bruisier "to break, shatter," perhaps from Gaul. *brus-, from the same PIE base. Related: Bruised; bruising. The noun is first recorded 1540s. Bruiser "a boxer" is attested from 1744.